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Ennis like the ‘Pale

ENNIS was compared to the Pale of old at last week’s meeting of Clare County Council. It was claimed the county town is sucking up the bulk of local public spending, at the expense of rural parts of the county. The new Ennis Market building was slammed as a white elephant by Councillor PJ Kelly, who quipped that it could be called after ‘Sean mac an Asal’ in the future, so pointless is it. The Lissycasey man further berated spending money on the creation of a cycleway on the road from Ennis to Ennistymon. “It’s a very bad road as it is,” he observed, saying it will become much worse if the proposal goes ahead. Councillor Kelly made the remarks after receiving a report about planning contributions over the last five years and how the money had been spent. He said he had been told in the past that planning contributions could only be spent in the area in which …

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Working with man’s best friends

FOR any dog lover, spending time walking and caring for the animal is a really enjoyable experience and so placement at a dog kennels was ideal for one participant during EmployAbility Clare’s annual Job Shadow Week last year. Job Shadow Week, a national initiative, takes place each year in the last week in April and is designed specifically to introduce people with a disability to the world of work. For many people, it is their first employment opportunity, spending time shadowing someone in their workplace and finding out about different work environments and jobs. Rosaleen and Mark Burns, owners of Dysert O’Dea Dog Kennels, hosted a job shadow for the first time last year and found it a rewarding experience. “We had the most fantastic young man with us for a job shadow. He’s a dog lover and our kennels and newly-opened daycare service are very busy, so he helped out walking the dogs and learned about the importance of …

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Cahirs – A presidential family

PROPOSALS by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) that would see a motorway service area located on the M18 will suck local business out of Ennis, if given the go-ahead. That’s according to the new president of Ennis Chamber, Will Cahir, who has criticised the selection by TII of the site 1.5km north-west of Newmarket-on-Fergus as the preferred location for a motorway service area. The president and local solicitor has said it is an effort to persuade local people who travel on the commuter belt to shop, buy fuel and eat at the new facilities, rather than use existing outlets in Ennis, Clarecastle, Newmarket-on-Fergus and Quin. “10,000 vehicles per day travel on the Ennis to Shannon commuter belt. If a motorway service station captures this trade, this is business lost to Ennis and surrounding villages. Motorway service stations should be designed to serve people using the motorways and not positioned for the purpose of hoovering business from local communities,” he said. The …

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On the move for ninth time in seven months

A MOTHER of four, three of whom are aged 13 or younger, has told The Clare Champion that the family has lived at eight different addresses around Clare since moving out of long-term rented accommodation in Connolly last September. In recent weeks, Deirdre McGrath and her children have lived in Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)-funded rented accommodation in Kilfenora but must move out this week. Up to securing that accommodation, the mother and her three younger children lived in friends’ houses across the county. “We took on a lease in Kilfenora but within a month, we got a notice of termination. The landlord’s circumstances have changed and he wishes to move back in,” Deirdre McGrath explained. She said it is very difficult to find accommodation where the landlord will accept HAP. “The consequences of HAP is landlords have to invest money into the dwelling to bring it up to standard. The guidelines can be quite tight,” she said. HAP is a …

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Community groups ready to bloom again

Tidy Towns groups, development associations, community groups and residents associations accross the county have been invited to compete in the Clare in Bloom Competition 2017. The annual competition is a motivational mechanism for local groups to enhance the visual impact of their settlements by means of flower, tree and shrub planting. Cash prizes for the purpose of furthering projects in the local community will be awarded to category winners at Clare County Council’s awards ceremony in October. Sponsorship is this year being provided by ESB Moneypoint and Roche Ireland, with matching funding from the council. The award criteria for the competition include visual impact, range of planting, litter control and waste management, community involvement, energy initiatives and overall impression. The competition is based on three population categories. Category 1 caters for towns and villages with a population in excess of 700, Category 2 is for population centres of between 300 and 700 people and Category 3 features villages with a …

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Cruinniú na Cásca launched

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys has joined with Pat Dowling, CEO, of Clare County Council to encourage everyone in Clare to take part in the first Cruinniú na Cásca, a new national day of culture and creativity. It will take place on Easter Monday as part of the Creative Ireland programme. Cruinniú na Cásca is a day-long national celebration of culture and creativity, which will take place in Dublin city centre and around the country. From live music and dance, to coding, theatre, art and music workshops, talks and tastings, readings and screenings, for the first time this year, special Cruinniú na Cásca events will take place in each of the 31 local authorities across the country. Admission is free (although tickets are required for some events with limited capacity) and there is a special focus on events for families and children.

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SUSI applications now open

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), has announced that its online application system, for new and renewal student grants, for the 2017/18 academic year is now open. SUSI is entering its sixth year of operations. Last year the national awarding body processed more than 105,000 applications with 83,000 students (new and renewal) receiving funding for the 2016/17 academic year. Graham Doyle, head of communications and customer service with SUSI,said,” would encourage students to visit our website, www.susi.ie, and review the eligibility criteria for student grant funding prior to making their applications. We have an online grant eligibility reckoner that enables students to answer a short set of questions following which they will be given an indication as to their eligibility for student grant funding. We also have a number of self-help tools available on our website, including videos and detailed guidance notes for making an application. Following the advanced processing of grant applications achieved by SUSI last year, we had awarded …

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Online passports to save time

THE new online passport service launched this week should help in further reducing turn-around times and potential delays, according to Minister of State Sean Canney. Irish Citizens who are over 18, and have held an Irish passport can now apply for their passport book and/or passportcard online through https://www.dfa.ie/passportonline/, the Gaway TD expained. “Renewing your Irish passport will now become a lot easier,” said Minister Canney. “Demand for Irish passports is increasing all the time and last year, some 733,000 passports were issued with a further 7% increase expected in 2017.” “A growing population and increased travelling by Irish citizens means that demand remains high. Additional staff have been recruited to deal with the increased demand, with the Passport Office employing over 230 temporary clerical offices during peak season,” said Minister Canney. Minister Canney has also contacted Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan in relation to the location of a dedicated passport office in Tuam to serve the Western region. He …

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